Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Growling Chair

Getting up early and walking out to the deer stand before sunrise takes some dedication.  Especially when it's cold and you're tired.

Getting up early and walking out to a deer stand--in the dark--that no one has checked all summer takes some determination.

Getting up early, walking out in the dark to a deer stand that no one has checked all summer, sitting down on the chair, hearing growling under your derriere, and not jumping up and running out the door takes some guts.

Or maybe stupidity, considering that in past summers we had a raccoon take up residence in that exact deer stand.

In my defense, as I sat there, in the dark, and my brain told me that yes, I was hearing an animal growl, I immediately flicked on my little flashlight that I keep in the pocket of my hunting coat, and shone it on the floor.  I looked all around my seat (but didn't get up), and what I saw was that the growling definitely was not coming from a raccoon or opossum: the scat on the floor was too small for either of those animals.  It looked more like large mouse poop.  Therefore, not an animal that was capable of inflicting great bodily harm or subjecting myself to rabies shots. (I hope)

So I shut off the flash light and commenced to settle in to hunt.  At which point, whatever was growling quit making noise and instead seemed to be moving around inside the back of my chair!!!

Which caused me to do a quick calculation of how many layers of clothing I was wearing, approximately how thick those layers of clothing were, and how long the teeth of a mouse, mink, weasel or squirrel might be.  Because those were my suspected chair-mates based on the feces on the floor.

My calculation assured me that I was most likely bite-proof, and so I stopped worrying and started hunting.  But later in the morning, on my way out of the blind, I took a couple of pictures of holes I found in the seat and the back rest of the chair.  And once in the house, I spent a few minutes googling things like "do mice growl?" and "what noises does a mink make?" and "how small of a hole can a squirrel fit through?"

hole in the back rest of the chair (about shoulder height)

hole in the seat of the chair

Based on my research, and repeat sightings near my blind on subsequent sittings in the same deer stand over the next couple of days, I have concluded that the growling creature in my chair the other morning was most likely an eastern gray squirrel.  Not sure if it's a him or a her, but it sure is a pretty shade of silver right now.  And seems to be quite happy to stay out of the blind while I'm in there.

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